Bindu

Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Self

Article Index

And so a dialogue ensues. There are many such dialogues
about the nature of Self. Yajnavalkya says "It's not for the sake of a husband that you love the husband. It is for the sake of the Self." Now there's a word that we use and use in the Sanskrit
language for "Self," and that word is "Atman," a very, very common word: "Atman." It is not for the sake of the husband that the husband is loved, but for the sake of the Atman, for the sake of the Self. Not for the sake of the wife that the wife is loved but for the sake of the Self is the wife loved. Not for the sake of the sons and daughters that the sons and daughters are loved but for the sake of the Self that the sons and daughters are loved. Not for the sake of the wealth the wealth is loved but for the sake of the Self the wealth is loved. And this is repeated and repeated – sentences like this. And he says, "Atmava arai drashtavya shrotavyo mantavyo nididhyasita viha." "Oh, this Self one should hear about! This Self one should seek to see and realize. This Self one should contemplate on. This Self should one meditate upon."

What a selfish doctrine! But here we then need then need to
clarify in our minds what is meant by this word "self." What is this Atman that we talk about? And we will try and explore this. As I said, we have so many notions of this "self." "Tell me about yourself." "I'm a woman, thirty-two." "I'm a man, thirty-five." "I'm tall." "I'm short." "When I'm in the presence of someone shorter, I'm tall." "When I'm in the presence of someone taller, I'm short." Are you short or tall? "When I'm in the presence of someone wealthier, I'm poor." "When I'm in the presence of someone poorer, I'm wealthy." "When I'm in the presence of someone more beautiful, I'm ugly; I don't like myself." "When I'm in the presence of someone not so well endowed with beauty, I'm beautiful." Who are you? "I'm John." "I'm Jane." The yoga philosophy says: "When you were born and came out of the mother's womb, did you say "Hi Mother. I am Jane?"